Toyota GB has become only the third manufacturer in the UK to extend its warranty beyond the industry standard three years. It has extended its new car warranty to five years/100,000.
The company has also revealed plans to roll out a comprehensive range of Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) vehicles over the next five years, incorporating existing models and all-new hybrid-only cars.
Toyota joins Hyundai, on five years, and Kia, seven years, as the only manufacturers to offer longer warranties across their full range of cars. Fiat offers five years on the Bravo.
Mark Roden, Toyota & Lexus fleet and remarketing services general manager, said: “At the Fleet News Awards roundtable we heard fleets are extending replacement cycles beyond three years – this new warranty will help with contracts and SMR costs.
“We are also hopeful that it will have a positive effect on residual values.”
The five-year warranty coincides with the launch of Toyota’s first ever brand marketing campaign featuring the strapline ‘Your Toyota is my Toyota’.
Both moves will help Toyota repair some of the image damage caused by its worldwide recall programme.
The impact of the recall on fleet sales has been minimal, according to Roden. Toyota is up year-on-year by 4%, at 34,519 units, although the market is up by almost 24%.
He says much of the fleet sector growth is down to moves by some rivals into high cost fleet channels – rental and Motability.
“We are targeting 4% market share but we will reduce that if the aggressiveness continues. We won’t compete there,” he said.
Toyota is now putting its full weight behind its hybrid technology. With the launch of the Auris HSD in July, hybrid will account for 20% of its UK sales; by 2015 it will take half.
Batteries will be installed into existing cars, targeting mainstream buyers, while Toyota will also develop more hybrid-only cars, such as the Prius, to satisfy “hybrid evangelists”.
The company will also counter criticism over battery packs eating into boot space by placing them elsewhere.
Its next hybrid model will be priced “more accessible” than Prius and Auris, said Duncan McMath, general manager of product planning, which suggests a Yaris or Aygo HSD.
“We will also go into segments where today’s products have very high fuel consumption, where we believe hybrid can make a real difference,” he said.
However, Toyota has no plans to develop a diesel hybrid because it is “too expensive”, McMath added.